At the ABA Annual Meeting in August of 2023, the House of Delegates unanimously passed Resolution 506, urging national, state, local, territorial, and tribal law and policy-making bodies to adopt the provisions of the “Guardianship Bill of Rights,” promulgated by the National Guardianship Network (NGN) in 2022, and to protect the right to Due Process in guardianship proceedings. The adoption of this Resolution furthers the ABA’s on-going guardianship reform efforts and recognizes the importance of having meaningful due process protections in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.
Resolution 506 was co-authored by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging (COLA) and the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice and is based upon recent recommendations from a taskforce established by the NGN. The NGN is comprised of representatives from various member organizations that advocate for quality guardianship practices and procedures, including ABA COLA and the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law.
In May of 2021, the NGN convened the Fourth National Guardianship Summit, virtually hosted by the Syracuse University College of Law. The purpose of the Summit was to review current guardianship policies and practices and make recommendations for reform over the next decade. At the Summit, 125 delegates adopted twenty-two (22) recommendations for guardianship reform—including Recommendation 1.1, which called upon the NGN to convene a task force to draft a model national Bill of Rights for adults subject to a
Following the Summit, the NGN established a task force in 2022 to create the first model national “Guardianship Bill Rights.” The task force, including members from national disability and aging organizations, individuals at risk or subject to guardianship, and family and professional guardians, created a model document affirming the rights of adults who have a guardian, including the right to an attorney to advocate for the outcome they want, the right to be present and participate in all court hearings, and the right to keep all rights not granted to theirThe document also affirmed other access to justice rights, core human rights, and decision-making rights that should be afforded to adults at all times when they have a guardian.